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Failure to Respect the Rights of First Nations: The ANQL Denounces the CNSC’s Decision and Calls for the Cancellation of the Chalk River Nuclear Waste Management Project

Press Release

WENDAKE, QC, Jan. 22, 2024  – The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (AFNQL) denounces the decision to allow the installation of a nuclear waste site that goes against the rights of First Nations and presents serious risks to the environment.

Despite concerns raised by First Nations and the support of over 140 municipalities nationally, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) has made the decision to authorize the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) project in Chalk River. The decision, announced on January 9, has been strongly contested by affected communities, particularly the Anishinabeg First Nations, whose unceded ancestral territory is directly affected by the operations in Chalk River. The AFNQL expresses its solidarity with these communities, particularly with the Kebaowek First Nation, which is continuing its campaign of opposition to the project.

“This decision by the CNSC goes against the rights of Indigenous peoples and the imperatives of environmental protection. I call on the federal government to act in accordance with its obligations to First Nations, particularly the Anishinabe Nation, which has never been in agreement with this radioactive waste dump project on its unceded ancestral territory. The government must immediately cancel the project,” said AFNQL Chief Ghislain Picard.

Although built in Ontario, the NSDF would result in the release of radioactive materials into the Ottawa River, raising significant environmental concerns for communities in Quebec. The significant risks posed by this project are undeniable, threatening people’s safety and health, as well as the environment, for future generations.

In 2017, the Assembly of First Nations pointed out the CNSC’s and the Government of Canada’s failure to comply with their constitutional duty to consult and accommodate First Nations regarding the NSDF. In response to the CNSC’s final decision, the Kebaowek First Nation, supported by several other communities and civil organizations, is calling for urgent action by the Canadian government to meet its obligations under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

For more information and to support Kebaowek First Nation, visit: https://www.stopnuclearwaste.com/.
About the AFQNL

The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador is the regional political body that brings together the 43 Chiefs of the First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. www.apnql.com

For further information: Source: Communications – Assemblée des Premières Nations Québec-Labrador, communications@apnql.com; Information and interview requests: Mathilde Robitaille-Lefebvre, Cel.: 819 852-4762, m.robitaill-lefebvre@seize03.ca

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